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Young Love
by [?]

We had a charming idyll here to-day. A young husband and wife came to stay with us in all the first flush of married happiness. One realised all day long that other people merely made a pleasant background for their love, and that for each there was but one real figure on the scene. This was borne witness to by a whole armoury of gentle looks, swift glances, silent gestures. They were both full to the brim of a delicate laughter, of over-brimming wonder, of tranquil desire. And we all took part in their gracious happiness. In the evening they sang and played to us, the wife being an accomplished pianist, the husband a fine singer. But though the glory of their art fell in rainbow showers on the audience, it was for each other that they sang and played. We sat in the dim light of a little panelled room, the lamps making a circle of light about the happy pair; seldom have I felt the revelation of personality more. The wife played to us a handful of beautiful things; but I noticed that she could not interpret the sadder and darker strains, into which the shadow and malady of a suffering spirit had passed; but into little tripping minuets full of laughter and light, and into melodies that spoke of a pure passion of sweetness and human delight, her soul passed, till the room felt as though flooded with the warmth of the sun. And he, too, sang with all his might some joyful and brave utterances, with the lusty pride of manhood; and in a gentler love-song too, that seemed to linger in a dream of delight by crystal streams, the sweet passion of the heart rose clear and true. But when he too essayed a song of sorrow and reluctant sadness, there was no spirit in it; it seemed to him, I suppose, so unlike life, and the joy of life,–so fantastic and unreal an outpouring of the heart.

We sat long in the panelled room, till it seemed all alive with soft dreams and radiant shapes, that floated in a golden air. All that was dark and difficult seemed cast out and exercised. But it was all so sincere and contented a peace that the darker and more sombre shadows had no jealous awakening; for the two were living to each other, not in a selfish seclusion, but as though they gave of their joy in handfuls to the whole world. The raptures of lovers sometimes take them back so far into a kind of unashamed childishness that the spectacle rouses the contempt and even the indignation of world-worn and cynical people. But here it never deviated from dignity and seemliness; it only seemed new and true, and the best gift of God. These two spirits seemed, with hands intertwined, to have ascended gladly into the mountain, and to have seen a transfiguration of life: which left them not in a blissful eminence of isolation, but rather, as it were, beckoning others upwards, and saying that the road was indeed easy and plain. And so the sweet hour passed, and left a fragrance behind it; whatever might befall, they had tasted of the holy wine of joy; they had blessed the cup, and bidden us too to set our lips to it.